Technology and the family
In my home we have an ongoing love-hate relationship with technology. Our kids could be on various kinds of screens almost every waking moment. Often they use more than one screen at a time. I often wonder whether their time couldn't be used more productively. The ubiquitous presence of screens can't be good. And yet technology is not entirely bad either. Again it is a matter of what technology is being used for and where the boundaries are.
Scot McKnight has written a thought-provoking blog post discussing the Barna Group's recent report on technology and the family. McKnight highlights these findings from Barna:
1. Parents are just as dependent on technology as are teens and tweens. Younger parents are all the more prone to use technology more often.
2. Most family members, even parents, feel that technology has been a positive influence on their families. Most families welcome technology with open arms.
3. Very few adults or youth take substantial breaks from technology. McKnight observes, "The question arises whether families are in control of their technology or being controlled by it."
4. Families experience conflict about technology but not in predictable ways. McKnight writes, "The conclusion stemming from the research is that technology seems to amplify the relational patterns and problems already in place: families that have healthy and frequent conversations find technology aiding that process, while families without such healthy interactions find that technology exacerbates the isolation of its members."
5. Few families have experienced -- or expect -- churches to address technology. Families are not getting sufficient coaching about how to integrate technology into daily life. In my opinion, there is training going on, but it is more ad hoc than intentional. Church communities establish norms for the use of technology by their members in the course of doing life together. Still, more is needed in terms of overt conversations about technology itself.